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This quotation is taken from the written evidence of the only witness from China who did not appear in person and was not cross-examined. The worth of this gentleman's testimony is somewhat affected by a piece of information which he did not himself give to the Commissioners, but which comes out incidentally in altogether another volume of the Blue-book (vol. v. p. 258)—viz., that Mr. Duff was " formerly a very large importer of opium.” This is the witness whom the Commissioners actually select from all the other China witnesses whose evidence came before them in London to quote as a special authority on the opium question ! Did they know who and what Mr. Duff was, or did they not? It looks very much as if they did. His evidence begins thus :
" In answer to your note of yesterday, I send you
herewith about opium” (vol. i. p. 112).
Apparently, then, the Commissioners wrote specially to him to invite his evidence; and yet one can hardly believe that they went so far as this. But if, on the other hand, they did not know who and what Mr. Daff was, could anything be more reckless than to quote from the written paper of an unknown author, as if he was a special authority, a sentiment that was diametrically opposed to the great mass of the evidence that had been given by witnesses who had appeared in person before the Commissioners and had been crossexamined ? Amongst those witnesses let me call particular attention to two, and to the evidence they gave. One was Dr. J. L. Maxwell, a medical missionary, who had spent some years in the Far East. In addition to his own evidence, based on his own experience and condemning the opium habit, he put in a document signed by over 5000 medical men resident in the United Kingdom, in which it is broadly stated “that the habit of opium-smoking or of opium-eating is morally and physically debasing.” To this witness, and to his important medical document, the Commissioners never allude. They think it better worth while, and more to the point, to quote the evidence of & quondam opium trader, who declares that in his opinion opium-smoking is not harmful! Another witness who appeared in London was Mr. Donald Matheson, formerly a partner in the business of Messrs. Jardine, Matheson & Co. He told how his firm was once largely engaged in the opium trade. He detailed also some of his experiences in connection with this business, by which he had been made to feel that as a conscientious man he could no longer be associated with it:
“ It was intolerable to me to continue in such a business, and I sent home my resignation to the senior partner, who was in this country. I left China finally in 1849" (vol. i. q. 799).
Who that really wanted to consider “ the moral aspects of the opium question as it affects China" would have passed by such witnesses as these, who gave their evidence under cross-examination, to emphasise evidence of a totally opposite kind from a witness who was scarcely likely to be unbiased in his evidence, and who never appeared to be cross-examined as to the ground on which his opinion rested ?
3. We come now to Dr. Edkins and his note on the history of opium and the poppy in China, which the Commissioners have printed as an appendix in the first volume of the Blue-book. This is the only reference they make to it; this is the only account they give of it in their Report : “ The author shows that the poppy (papaver somniferum) was cultivated in China as early as the eighth century.” What impression is that reference to Dr. Edkins's “ Note " likely to have on the mind of any reader ? The want of candour in quotation which is here shown is almost incredible. It is true Dr. Edkins says that “the first distinct mention of the poppy " " is in the first half of the eighth century." But what has that to do with the question of how opium-smoking in China grew to its present proportions ? Absolutely nothing whatever. The following quotations from Dr. Edkins's noto give the true idea of the drift of what Dr. Edkins has to say on the vice of opium-smoking in China, and on the relation of the Indian export trade in opium to this vice:
“In the year A.D. 1729 an edict was issued on opium-smoking, prohibiting the sale of opium and the opening of opium houses. The Government found itself face to face with a dangerous social evil of an alarming kind. .. Opium-selling for smoking purposes has from this time forward (i.e. A.D. 1729) been regarded as a crime by the ruling authorities. . . . The very earliest instance of legislation on this matter is here before the reader. It was based on local events occurring on the sea-coast a long way from Peking. The gradual spread from the province of Fuhkien to all the provinces was still in the future, and was not before the mind of the legislators.
. . The sale of opium was prohibited by statute, but we do not find proof that it was refused as a drug at the Custom Houses of Amoy and Canton. The import steadily increased during the time it was in the hands of the Portuguese till English merchants took it up in 1773, after the conquest of Bengal by Clive. The East India Company took the opium trade into its own hands in 1781" (vol. i. p. 156, 27°).
In the geographical work called 'Hai-kuo-tu-chih 'we are told that opiumsmoking commenced only in the last years of the Emperor Chien Lung, that is, about 1790" (ibid. p. 157, 32).
Thus the drift of Dr. Edkins's Note goes to show that although opium has existed as a medicine in China for over a thousand years, the curse of opium-smoking has only been known on any considerable scale for less than 150 years, and that then it spread from the coast inland, the import steadily increasing first in the hands of the Portoguese, but from 1773 in the hands of the British. This view of the matter supports the ordinary anti-opiam contention, which is that opium is almost invariably spoken of as Yang-yen—i.e." foreign smoke (or tobacco)," and not by its Chinese name, and that the habit of opium-smoking, with all its attendant evils, came from across the seas* and was introduced by foreigners. This is the account of matters given by the Chinese themselves in their popular books, and Dr. Edkins's paper goes far to prove that it is correct. Would anybody gather this from the Commissioners' statement ? Does not their statement imply the exact opposite of the truth?
I have given enough examples to show how the Commissioners have misrepresented the evidence before them. I could give many more. I wish again to insist on the fact that none of these charges that I have brought against the Commission are vague or indefinite. Every one of them is as precise and particular as I can make it,
I must in conclusion call attention to some of the omissions of the Report. (1) The Chinese evidence is not once referred to by the Commissioners in their Report on China. This evidence is of two kinds. The questions they sent to China were replied to at length by several native witnesses. The evidence of these Chinamen is nearly all strongly unfavourable to the opium habit and the opium trade. But, in addition to this, a number of quotations from native literature were put in as evidence by English and other witnesses. These are all, without exception, of the same character and all denounce indulgence in opium-smoking. A reader of the China Report as presented to Parliament would never imagine that any expression of opinion on the part of Chinese witnesses or any references to Chinese books had been received by the Commissioners. (2) An important memorial presented by seventeen British missionaries of twenty-five years' standing has been already alluded to. To this also the Commissioners never refer. Two clerical memorials were presented to the Commission in India, the aim of which was to exonerate the Indian Government from all blame in regard to its home trade in opium. These documents, though of immeasurably less weight, so far as the signatures are concerned, than the memorial received from China, are both quoted in the Report as of great importance ! (vol. vi. pp. 21, 22). Even one of these memorials makes a special reservation in regard to the export opium trade with China. "We express no opinion here,” say the memorialists," as to the morality of the relations of the Government to the opium trade with China." It is unnecessary to say that the Commissioners do not quote this sentence from the Bishop of Lucknow and his clergy.
The truth is the Commissioners have throughout abdicated their
• " Yang" means
ocean." The foreigner is a “yang jên," or
position as judges and have assumed the attitude of advocates. This at least is the charge brought against them by one of their own number who declined on this account to sign the Report of the majority and issued a Minority Report of his own. Mr. Henry J. Wilson, M.P., says: “The Report adopted by my colleagues appears to me to partake more of the character of an elaborate defence of the opium trade of the East India Company and of the present Government of India than of a judicial pronouncement on the immediate questions submitted to us” (vol. vi. p. 151, par. 49).
It is my firm conviction that the more the Report is studied side by side with the evidence before the Commissioners, the more will the justice of Mr. Wilson's estimate of it become apparent. I desire nothing more than that the whole China evidence with the statements of the Royal Commissioners relating thereto might be submitted to a Commission of three of her Majesty's judges, and that they might issue a report on the subject. I venture to think the result would be that no one would ever again appeal to the Report of the Royal Commission on Opium, so far as it relates to China, as establishing the principal conclusions that the Commissioners have announced to Parliament as those at which they have arrived. Surely any case must be in desperate need of propping up that requires such methods for its defence as have been adopted by the Royal Commissioners in the instances cited above.
COW that you have heard so much of London in the past and in
the present, of London a thousand years ago, and of London and its new County Council, of the art, the science, the poetry, the schools, the churches of London, I am bidden to speak to you of “ Ideal London,” which I understand is-London as it might be, as it should be, as it shall be.
Neither the subject nor the title of this lecture is of my choosing, but I willingly accept the task. And I can imagine that some of you may be saying-Ideal London is an impossible London; an unpractical, unreal, visionary thing; of no use to man or woman; an idle day-dream, which need not be intruded on serious students and laborious research. Do not be too sure of that. An ideal is a standard at which we aim, the hope of things not seen, that which we yearn to make ourselves and our lives, for the things we see are temporal (saith the Apostle) the things not seen are eternal. Without ideals we grow into fossils, drones, brutes. What is the good of study, what is the need of research, unless it be to know, in order to improve, to leave the world better than we found it, to attain to a true and well-grounded progress ? And can there be progress unless we see clearly some goal at which we ought to arrive, however slow be our course, however laborious the study with which we prepare it and forecast it. As the poet says:
'We live by admiration, hope, and love." Morality, religion are based on ideals. Without ideals there would be no hope, and without hope, neither religion, nor aspiration, nor energy, nor good work. A true ideal is no dream, no idle fantasy.
* An Address given at the London University, June 9, 1898.